9 reasons why a borrower chooses a lender with a higher rate

Tim Milazzo
July 16, 2020

You know what? Interest rates are low.

Really low.

Commercial real estate investors across the country are refinancing their assets to take advantage of a central banking system that can’t drop benchmark rates any further without going negative.

But rate is far from the only relevant number when it comes to evaluating a commercial loan quote. Here are seven solid reasons why a borrower may choose a lender that doesn’t have the lowest rate around.

9 reasons to take a higher rate

Longer amortization = more cash flow

We’ve written about this one before, but the quick synopsis is this: a longer amortization period on a loan results in lower loan payments, and more cash flow for the borrower.

Higher loan proceeds

If you are shooting for higher investment returns, you should key in on the Loan Constant, rather than just looking at the Interest Rate for different loan quotes. A favorable loan constant means that the higher the leverage, the higher the returns. If you are tight on cash to use as equity, a higher loan amount might be the right decision (or the only decision) to make for your deal even if the loan constant is negative.

Interest-only periods

Just like longer amortization schedules reduce how much principal is paid back on the loan in a given time period, interest-only periods entirely pause principal payments. This allows two things to happen:

  1. Maximum cash flow during that time period.
  2. Lower payments allow the sponsor to add value to the asset before the larger payments kick in.

Longer loan term

“Permanent” commercial mortgage loans can typically hold a 5, 7, or 10 year fixed rate before resetting or requiring the borrower to refinance completely. Locking in a low fixed rate for a longer period of time is attractive to many borrowers, even if it’s not the absolute minimum rate.

Shorter loan term

On the other hand, a shorter loan term may better match the business plan for heavy value-add assets. If you believe you can increase income and force appreciation for your asset over a 1–2 year period, it could be worth paying up a higher interest rate during that time if the lender offers other benefits.

Softer prepayment penalty

Another degree of flexibility is a softer prepayment penalty, which keeps the option to sell or refinance viable over the life of a loan. Some types of loans, like CMBS, are inherently difficult to pay back early. Among financial institutions, there are many different flavors of prepayment penalties, from Yield Maintenance down to no penalty at all.

Less recourse

Personal liability is something that, all else equal, a borrower would like to avoid. Even when it’s not all equal, borrowers may want or need to seek a non-recourse loan, or prefer to limit the recourse provisions. This is absolutely a reason why a borrower may take a loan at a higher rate.

Faster closing time

Time is money, right? Acquisition deals often come with a defined due diligence period, and a required closing date. Missing that date has consequences. Similarly with refinancings, a borrower does not want to go into default on a previous loan while waiting for a lender to complete their underwriting and issue an approval. A lender that can close more quickly can charge a premium interest rate (on certain transactions).

Lower fees

Interest aside, the fees on a commercial mortgage can be heavy. Keeping money in your pocket as a borrower must take fees into account. 2% origination at 8% interest is seldom more attractive than 1% origination at 9% interest — it’s a time value of money thing.


Finally, these decisions are made by humans, not machines. If a borrower knows, likes, and trusts a specific lender, or if they are persuaded to trust in a lender by a given Capital Advisor they trust, it goes a long way in the borrower’s decision-making process.

Find the right commercial real estate financing with StackSource by getting instantly matched to the best debt and equity options for your project from our nationwide network of capital sources. 

Our expert Capital Advisors help you secure your ideal capital stack, resulting in a lower cost of capital for your investments in less time and with more transparency than a traditional commercial mortgage brokerage. Learn more at StackSource.com.